Friday, November 26, 2010

Photography by Seree

If you ever have an event and need an ill photographer...

Keyshia Cole "A Long Way Down"

How dare you have a conversation about R&B stiletto-wearing-street-sweet divas and not mention Keyshia Cole? No one makes heartbreak more sexier. For her newest video "Long Way Down" off her forthcoming album in December, Keyshia gives in to the whims of a tatted up bad boy who tries to restore her faith in men. Listen to those luring pain-soaked vocals and it's no secret why so many men are dying to break her heart and put it back together again.

Bilal "Think It Over" (Exile Remix)

It's been a couple of months since Bilal arose from years of audio slumber with his latest album Airtight's Revenge. It's no surprise the singer is releasing remixes in full torque. This particular one is a folky button by Exile (nice and chopped lest you forget the West Coast producer's Hip-Hop leanings). Check it out and SOUND OFF in the comments below.

Bilal - Think It Over (Exile Remix) by Hypetrak
Catch Bilal perform on Soul Train Awards 2010 airing this Sunday November 28th at 9pm est on Centric

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nativo Watches

I'm obsessed with these watches. Like I'm really about to start a collection. The company is Ecowrist founded by husband and wife David Handy and Marguerite Hamden. All their watches are hand-crafted out of natural products like bamboo, tagua nuts, acheera seeds, coconut, wood, cow’s leather and cañaflecha (reed in English). The wood is highly specialized too: teca, incienso, granadillo and macana. I have the green one and Imma wear it every day, dammit! Anyway, you probably can catch these environmentally safe watches at the next SoHo street fair or just if you're just dying for one of your own right this minute, you can click here. Don't say I never did nothing for you.

My joint.

Allen Iverson in Turkey

Put him anywhere on the globe and he will dominate. Just needs a little time though...

Jennifer Hudson: "Winnie" Trailer

Looks like Jennifer Hudson might be nudging the Academy again pretty soon. The young singer is starring as Winnie Mandela in the upcoming biopic Winnie alongside Terrence Howard who plays her husband and celebrated South African activist Nelson Mandela. The film is due to hit the festival circle in early 2011, but peep the trailer below.

Ameriie "Outside Your Body"

If there's one thing that got us tripping, it's Ameriie's (formally Amerie---she changed the spelling of her name) new song "Outside Your Body". The Euro dance hit from the Grammy nominated singer's fifth album Cymatika Vol. 1 throbs with a contagious sensuality. "Promise before the night is over/ You're gonna live like it's your last," she sings oh so seductively. This track feels like dancing on a platinum stage. Check it out:

Ameriie - Outside Your Body by EPinfluences

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cute Breast Cancer T-Shirt

...if this doesn't move you, i don't know what does...

Talib Kweli Releases "Cold Rain"
Just in case Talib Kweli's "ill-ness" was forgotten, here's a bookmark. "Cold Rain", a dope two-and-a-half minutes of political casserole, hovers regally over a Ragtime piano riff as the Brooklyn wordsmith talks about Reganomics, Islamophobia, and how emcees are "endangered species like manatees." Catch this hot track on Kweli's upcoming album, Gutter Rainbows due sometime in December.

Talib Kweli - Cold Rain by moderncartel

Erykah Badu "Soldier (Sam Champ Remix)"

How do you remix someone who always remixes herself? Sam Champ found a way with this mellifluous re-stirring of Erykah Badu's New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War hit "Soldier". This jam, with its trippy keyboards, floats on a canopy of other-worldliness like no other. Look out for Sam Champ's remix EP to drop in December.

Soldier (Sam Champ Remix) by samchampion

Photography by: Vickey Ford of The Couch Sessions

Behind the Scenes of Bruno Mars' "Grenade"

Took a little while to believe that this young whipper snapper was for real, but Bruno Mars brought his silky voice to the set of his new video "Grenade". In a behind the scenes preview, the young singer/songwriter explains why he is hauling a piano across town in this new heartstopper. How romantic! Bruno's debut album Doo Wops & Hooligans is out right now.

Jazmine Sullivan's "Ten Seconds"

Wait, is this another "I'm Goin' Down" cover? Jazmine Sullivan's opening notes on her latest single "Ten Seconds", off her forthcoming album Love Me Back, certainly sound like the classic Rose Royce heart-wrenching ballad a la Mary J. Blige. Kidnapping, bombs, and ferocious vocals. This is the ultimate get-'em-back song. But wait, is it that really a bomb or a Radio Shack timer? Check out the video and SOUND OFF in the comments below.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Revolution Will Be Tagged









 Billy Wimsatt: Movement Tagging

Over fifteen years ago when his first book, Bomb the Suburbs came out, author and social activist Billy Wimsatt was a 22 year-old anti-establishment graffiti monger. Today, he’s willing to help make the world a better place with anyone who will listen and the title of his new book Please Don’t Bomb the Suburbs reflects that sentiment. “Someone needs to laugh at how my generation of hot-blooded anti-everything rabble-rousers has turned into boring normal adults who aspire to own a house, have kids, and buy ecological smoothie makers,” he admits in the introduction. In the new book, Wimsatt still stands on the progressive side of race and social equality, but instead of championing a total upheaval of the system, he’s advocating the creation of a super movement within it. “There’s a least a million of us out there who have the potential to be our own version of the Obamas,” says Wimsatt. “Our job is to do it in our own neighborhoods, our own blocks, and our own precincts.”

OKP: What are the most important issues today?

Billy Wimsatt: Jobs, jobs, jobs. Whether you are a college graduate or a high school dropout, the job market is statistically similar to the Great Depression. All the issues are connected. The people who are trying to screw young people, people of color, gay people, the environment, on and on are the same folks.

OKP: You wrote in your book that a lot of progressive people avoid leadership because they think that power corrupts.

Billy Wimsatt: So who went and got power? The people who weren’t worried about getting corrupted by power i.e. the people who were most likely to be power hungry, egotistical, selfish, and greedy. I’ve noticed a lot of people who read my books want to be artists, teachers, or community leaders. Those are all important, but we need good people in real estate. We need good people being CEOs, lawyers, politicians, and doctors. We gotta get power. We gotta govern.

OKP: How young were you when you developed your political conscience?

Billy Wimsatt: When I was in fourth grade, my teacher said, “There are nuclear warheads pointed at us in Chicago” I was like, What?! Hold on, let me understand this. Someone could press a button and blow up my city? That was the moment when I realized the so-called “grown-ups” did not have their shit together.

OKP: Why is it always the smart, middle class people who join movements and not working class people?

Billy Wimsatt: It’s a reflection of the way society is set up. A lot of times it’s the middle class kids and college grads who have the privilege of getting a paying job that gives them the time to develop as leaders. The thing to keep in mind is that there are a lot of people living in survival mode, who are smarter, more deserving, and who have just as much to give as the people who have jobs working in the movement.

OKP: Have you found that’s it harder for white progressives to be effective because race gets in the way of your work efforts?

Billy Wimsatt: Some white people who have sincerely good intentions are not doing their best because they think their every move is problematic because they’re white, rich, male etc. Progressive people are shooting ourselves in the foot and doing a disservice to the world because we’re so self-sabotaging.

OKP: How can Hip-Hop continue to change the world?

Billy Wimsatt: We need to go beyond what Bambataa, Flash, and all these originators of Hip-Hop did. They were taking on the challenges of being a kid in the South Bronx in the 70's. We have to take on that plus living in a global, 21st century world that is on crack cocaine and speeding forward recklessly like some drunk teenagers in a car. We need to grab the steering wheel and be like, Hold up time to be adults. We can’t just crash this car. This is our only car.

-Sidik Fofana

Raheem Devaughn's "All I Want is You"

Don't dismiss Raheem Devaughn's "All I Want is You" as one of those bandwagon covers that artists do to latch on to the latest craze. The R&B heart throb is a perennial hit maker himself and comfortably renders Miguel's uber-smash like it was just another day in the park. "This is not a conscious song," he ad libs in the beginning. "I wanna take you to the bedroom." Then, he proceeds to do so.

Raheem Devaughn's mixtape Jackin 4 Beats, Vol 1 drops November 22nd.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Celebrity Chekhov

Until you read this book, you thought Chekhov was for nerds. You didn't think you could plug in the names of some celebrities, reimagine a few details here and there, and voila, out pops an updated batch of stories that provides just as much insight today as it did in 19th century Russia. Well, New Yorker editor Ben Greenman did and the result is rather illuminating. David Letterman discovers a baby at his door step and thinks it's his. Nicole Ritchie and Paris Hilton find themselves suspended in a jealous reunion. Britney Spears retells the story of love long-withered. Stuff like that. 

John Varvatos Celebrating Ten Years

I love this ad...

Chrisette Michele "So In Love" feat. Rick Ross

"My heart is saying 'boom, boom, clack, clack'", sings Chrisette Michele in this twinkly number about love's oh so ambivalent butterflies. The onomatopoeia is golden, but it's the Grammy-winning singer's coy delivery that eventually steals this show. Despite a pinch of "goon" from Rick Ross (who can't resist rapping about kissing a girl in the rain and making her wetter), "So in Love" radiates with that warm feeling of untainted affection.

Chrisette Michele's album Let Freedom Reign comes out November 30th.

Chrisette Michele ft. Rick Ross - So In Love by J Christine

Beyonce Gets Her Own Comic Book

Beyonce comic book

What do Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce have in common beside millions of dollars in record sales? You guessed it, they've all have been immortalized in a comic by Bluewater Comics (okay, maybe you didn't guess it). The company has announced the completion of Fame: Beyonce, a 32 page comic book depicting the chart topper's life and rise to fame. The unauthorized biography written by CW Cooke and drawn by Alex Lopez will be available in January 2011 and on sale for $3.99.

Faith Evans Talks Florence Ballard Bio Pic, Book Writing and Owning Her Own Label

The late Florence Ballard may finally get her time to shine! Spirit of Life Films is currently working on Blondie: The Florence Ballard Story, a biopic about the original lead singer of The Supremes that is set to star R&B songstress Faith Evans in the title role. Based on Peter Benjaminson's book, The Lost Supreme, the movie will delve into Ballard's rise to fame as well as the jealousy and betrayal that obscured her name and led to her untimely death.
Blondie:The Florence Ballard Story premieres Summer of 2011.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Refugee For Prez

The Source Magazine was supposed to run this, but you know how fast the news changes so just posting it somewhere...

Refugee For Prez
By Sidik Fofana

On February 6, 2004, rebels stormed into Gonaives, Haiti’s fourth largest city setting the police station ablaze and demanding Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s resignation citing corruption and his general failure of the people. Two weeks later Wyclef Jean publicly supported the coup d’etat in progress urging Aristide to step down so that there could be “some form of negotiation with the opposition force.” Stern words from Haiti’s most famous musician to Haiti’s first democratically elected president.
Six years later, after Aristide has been successfully deposed and his successor Rene Preval has completed a full term, after an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude ravaged the country’s capital city Port-au-Prince causing over 250,000 casualties, Wyclef invokes the same spirit of democracy that allowed Aristide to lead as he campaigns for the presidency of Haiti. “We suffered for over 200 years,” Wyclef told CNN. “Now that our country has toppled, it’s a chance to rebuild from the bottom on up,”
Wyclef’s road to presidency is as duplicitous as they come. On one end, it’s a heartwarming story of the Haitian born mogul’s maturing patriotic love. Over Jean’s nearly two decades as a public figure, he has transformed from Haitian griot to philanthropist to now political hopeful. Wyclef himself would attest that these changes were born more from necessity than personal growth. “He said ‘Na, man, you know what kind of responsibility, what kind of problem that is?’” says Brooklyn native, Allah Smalls, who did EMT work at the general hospital in Haiti and playfully suggested that he run for office. “He was basically saying I don’t want those kind of problems because then I can’t help the people the way that I want to help the people.”
When it comes to Haitian pride, very few can question Wyclef’s authenticity. Ever since Jean moved from Haiti to Brooklyn, New York at the age of nine and went on to a become three-time Grammy winning member of the Fugees, he has arguably fulfilled the role of the world’s greatest spokesman for the impoverished nation. Songs like “Hold On” beam and Yele Haiti, his non-profit organization, has raised over 9.1 million in relief funds for the struggling nation, including over two million dollars to aid the victims of the 2010 earthquake. By 2007, Wyclef had become such a devotee to the Haitian cause as well as a shining example of success to the youth of Haiti, that president Rene Preval appointed to the high office of roving ambassador. “The young people support him,” says Akbar Muhammad, Minister Farrakhan’s former internal representative and acquaintance of Jean’s. “He went through the streets when I was there and asked the young people. They say he represents their new Haiti.”
With overwhelming popularity among young people, Wyclef sees his bid for presidency with the Vive Ansanm party as the best way to stabilize Haiti’s future. “"If I can't take five years out to serve my country as president, then everything I've been singing about, like equal rights, doesn't mean anything," Wyclef told Larry King early August. "My decision is a draft. I've been drafted by the youth."
Although Jean believes that he can boost Haiti’s dismal literacy rate and serve as liaison between the citizens of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora, who currently account for approximately 2 billion dollars in contributions to Haiti’s economy, the transition from beloved entertainer to reputable politician has been a rough one. Hours after Wyclef announced his presidential bid, several high profile celebrities stepped forward to voice their disapproval. The decriers included Wyclef’s former crewmate Pras who supports Haitian bred musician Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, Miss Haiti, and actor Sean Penn who called Jean’s run for office “very suspicious”.
In addition to opprobrium from his peers who take issue with his vague political platform, Wyclef has had other setbacks to overcome. For one, he still holds the high ranking office of goodwill ambassador, a title for which he must obtain a discharge before he can run for any other office. Also, even more crucially, he hasn’t lived in Haiti for over three decades. The Haitian constitution mandates that presidential candidates must have at five years of residence in the country, a technicality that Jean hopes to have waived or dismissed with his electoral card from last election.
But the thing about politics is that everything in the past now becomes public record. Jean’s past support of the Aristide coup, his shaky Creole, the fact that he dropped out of college, and even the lyrics to his well-known song “If I Was President” where Wyclef sings, “Instead of spending billions on the war/ I can use some of that money to feed the poor” become political fodder.
Naturally, Wyclef's finances have also been under heavy scrutiny. Besides owing 2.1 million in taxes to the IRS, records implicated Wyclef has pocketed over $400,000 dollars in relief funds from Yele Haiti. "I freely admit that missteps were made when Yele was in its infancy as a grassroot movement, before the earthquake," Wyclef wrote in an email. "The administration of the group was a bit naive, but once we started getting donations from around the world, the first decision I made was to reform management."
$400,000 may not even be 0.5% of Yele’s net revenue, but when discussing an election and government that has been historically wrought with corruption and embezzlement, this mismanagement becomes that much more salient. Add to that skepticism about the legitimacy of the election itself (98% of eligible voters boycotted the recent senatorial race because the country’s most popular party Lavalas has been banned from running in all elections) and more clouds swarm over Wyclef’s leadership abilities. “The first thing any president would have to address is that the country is being militarily occupied by United Nations,” says Kim Ives, editor of Haiti Liberte and frequent commentator on Democracy Now. “Not only does Wyclef have no inkling of changing that, but in fact, supports that and seems to feel that Haiti should become Puerto Rico or a colony some sorts.”
Wyclef also has to worry about the 33 other candidates, of which Leslie Voltaire, former prime ministers Yvon Neptune and Jacques Edouard Alexis, as well as Wyclef’s own uncle Haitian Ambassador Raymond Joseph pose serious competition. Not to mention the potential violence that can stem from a controversial election. Days after Minister Farrakhan warned Wyclef of “the tiny group of people who study you”, Jean received several death threats from dissenters who demand that he “get out of Haiti”.
Later in August, he received even more stunting news. Of the 34 candidates names in the election, Wyclef’s name appeared on the ineligible list. As of press time, Wyclef and his lawyer has publicized their intent to challenge the decision.
Still, despite the encumbering critical eye on his campaign, Wyclef continues to sharpen his agenda for a better Haiti. He’s drafting a plan to restore the export trade of cocoa and sugar. Though some analysts fear that the big time sponsorship Wyclef would most likely attract will mold into a puppet for corporate interests, many see him as the household name that can broadcast Haiti’s plight to the rest of the world, especially the ones who haven’t yet made good on their pledge to aid Haiti after the earthquake. “I still feel like he can do it. I think he should do it,” Smalls says. “That’s the most popular Haitian in the world right now and he’s an intelligent guy. He’s a get-it-done type of person.”
Wyclef may not be Haiti’s next Toussaint L’Overture, but he is not surely powerless to affect political change as an entertainer. If an actor can govern California and a wrestler can govern Minnesota, who’s to say a rapper can’t govern Haiti?
Still, things are not as sunny in Haiti as they are in California.

Janelle Monae's "Without A Fight"

It's hard to imagine Janelle Monae---with her pompadour swirl of 'tude---giving up at anything. So as far as her chants of "Imma reach for the sky/ Try to 'till I get it right", she's not telling us anything we don't know about her. But being that the track is for Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls, Monae may or may not had a scene from the moralistic film in mind when she put together this upbeat doosey. In other words, just imagine one of Tyler Perry's strong black characters needing a surge of female empowerment and it all makes sense.

Janelle Monae - Without A Fight - (New Track) soundtrack for the film "For Colored Girls"... by MusicMan70

Chrisette Michele Gears up for New Mixtape

Soul singers put out mixtapes, too. Or at least Chrisette Michele can. The Grammy-award winning vocalist plans to release Love Thy Brother, a mixtape that she has been brewing with her brother Lem Payne for quite some time. The compilation features many never released cuts which, for some reason or another, never saw the public light of day. The mixtape showcases an eclectic Chrisette who goes from "Aston Martin Music" to giving her two cents on African-American boys growing up in America. Love Thy Brother drops this Friday and Michele's third solo album Let Freedom Reign is due at the end of the month.

Here's "Miss Audrey" from the mixtape to whet your appetite.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Minorities ride GOP wave to historic victories

New stuff from Jesse Washington...I don't know whether to be happy for the minorities or sad for the
 democrats :/
Minorities ride GOP wave to historic victories
The historic Republican wave also produced historic results for minority candidates, from Latina and Indian-American governors to a pair of black congressmen from the deep South.
In New Mexico, Susana Martinez was elected as the nation's first female Hispanic governor. Nikki Haley, whose parents were born in India, will be the first woman governor in South Carolina, and Brian Sandoval became Nevada's first Hispanic governor.
Insurance company owner Tim Scott will be the first black Republican congressman from South Carolina since Reconstruction, after easily winning in his conservative district. Scott, a 45-year-old state representative, earned a primary victory over the son of the one-time segregationist U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond.
In Florida, military veteran Allen West outfought a two-term Democrat to win his House race. He is the first black Republican elected to Congress from Florida since a former slave served two terms in the 1870s.
The last black Republican in Congress was J.C. Watts of Oklahoma. He left office in 2003. There were 42 black Democrats in Congress this term.
Several Latino Republicans defeated incumbent House Democrats. In Texas, Bill Flores snatched a seat from Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards, who had served 20 years in Congress, and Francisco Canseco beat 11-year veteran Ciro Rodriguez. Jamie Herrera became the first Latino congressman from Washington state.
Opposition to President Barack Obama's agenda fueled Tuesday's GOP surge, and many also connected Obama to the rise of minority GOP candidates.
"Color is becoming less of an issue," said Richard Ivory, a black Republican political consultant and founder of "There was a time when the white electorate saw race first and made judgments based on this alone. While black Republicans and Obama disagree ideologically, both are candidates whose message surpassed pigment."
Mark Sawyer, a UCLA professor and director of the university's Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, said Obama's election pushed the GOP to adjust to a more diverse electorate by seeking out minority candidates.
But he noted that almost all the victorious GOP minorities were elected in majority-white areas and opposed measures such as comprehensive immigration reform that are favored by many Latinos and blacks.
"This election does not show a substantive embrace of a minority agenda," Sawyer said.
Fourteen black Republicans were on House ballots nationwide, almost double the number in 2008. The largest number of black Republicans in Congress since Reconstruction has been two: Watts and Gary Franks of Connecticut, who left office in 1997.
On the Democratic side, Terri Sewell became the first black woman elected to Congress in Alabama.
Haley, who was backed by the tea party and Sarah Palin, is a 38-year-old state representative who was projected to win easily in conservative South Carolina. She faced unproven accusations of infidelity and questions about her finances and experience, and State Sen. Vincent Sheheen made the race closer than anyone expected. She is the nation's second Indian-American governor, after Bobby Jindal in Louisiana.
Marco Rubio, a Republican and Cuban-American, won a Senate seat in Florida. He will replace the retiring Mel Martinez, another conservative Cuban.
Jean Howard-Hill, a black Republican who lost a House primary in Tennessee, was cautiously optimistic about the future of minorities in her party.
"We're going to jump up and down because we have two African-Americans going to Congress?" she said. "There are still opportunities for advancement. But I think we have a good platform to do that now."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quincy Jones and Amy Winehouse "It's My Party"

"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to," Amy Winehouse soulfully slurs in a remake of Lesley Gore's 1963 hit. But, is her drawl the product of creative spin or the side effect of her semi-synthetic highs? Either way, the re-interpretation produced by Mark Ronson and off Quncy Jones's forthcoming album Q: Soul Bossa Nostra shimmers with a fresh take on the era.

Look out for Quincy Jones's Q: Soul Bossa Nostra featuring Akon, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige and others on November 9th.

Amy Winehouse - It's My Party (feat. Quincy Jones) by dirus